By Mumini AbdulKareem
The tussle in Kwara State for ministerial appointment in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari peaked, last night, following alleged renewed plot by some top chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stop former minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed from being considered, National Pilot gathered, last night.
The alleged gang up against the ex-minister, it was gathered, followed criticism among some top party members especially from Kwara Central and South senatorial districts accusing him of short-changing the state in the federal cabinet by using the Kwara slot for Lagos.
Those who accused Alhaji Mohammed, a source noted, argued that their gross is that Kwarans have not really benefited from the legal practitioner turned politician in terms of appointments and other political benefits except using it to amass political power to fight perceived enemies.
“The reality is that things would have been better and different for the state if somebody that has strong root at home was there than one that is using the slot to play politics. Kwara and Kwarans should be the greatest beneficiary of that slot which has always been the case. But unfortunately, that is not the situation before now and there are efforts to see that such is not allowed to continue”, the source added.
Signs that the ministerial issue has further polarised the leaders of the party was apparent weekend following the accusation that some prominent chieftains of the APC are working against the interest of Governor Abdulrazaq.
According to a group within the APC, Kwara Must Change, in a press conference held in Ilorin and jointly signed by its Convener, Abdulrazaq Hamzat, state Coordinator, Comrade Yusuf Olatunji Moyosore, Kwara North and South coordinators, Comrade Aliyu Seko Jibril and Comrade Adeleke Babatunde Musbau, respectively, urged the national leadership of the party to be disregarded.
“While we commend and appreciate the contribution of all to the success of O to ge political revolution, we frown at any kind of distortion, and we are therefore using this opportunity to inform the national leadership of the APC that anyone who seek to undermine the governor through false narrative at the national level or create a parallel authority, as was evident during the campaign period should not only be out rightly disregarded, such individuals should also not be accommodated in a gathering of progressives.
“We therefore wish to state very emphatically, that none of these individuals, working in opposing direction to the Kwara State Governor is worthy of being accorded any recognition at the national level, and in view of the above, we request from the president and national leadership of the party, for the Kwara State Governor to be given special and exclusive privilege, due to Kwara’s peculiar situation, to nominate all Kwara appointees at the national level.
“This is necessary because, Governor Abdulrahman is a man of vision that is committed to leading a liberated Kwara purposefully and he needs the support and collaboration of all Kwara appointees at the federal level to accomplish this mission.
The president and APC national headquarters must therefore note that, appointing people who will use the position to antagonize, rather than compliment the governor at this critical stage of rebuilding Kwara State will not only be counterproductive for the state but for the party”, the statement added.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that Governor Abdulrazaq has allegedly thrown his weight behind Senator Suleiman Makanjuola Ajadi for ministerial appointment.
Ajadi, from Babanloma in Ifelodun Local Government is also from Kwara South senatorial districts with Lai Mohammed. Ajadi, has been very visible since the advent of the present administration and he is widely believed to have the support of the Governor.
He was the Chairman of the Committee on the sales of government property which submitted its report last week and also chaired the inauguration committee and a member of the 80-man Transition Committee that was earlier set up by the state government. Ajadi also chaired one of the Kwara South Forums that recently visited Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi, who is also from Ifelodun.
A source who is in the know of the development said last night that “The Governor is backing Ajadi for the position and you see he is almost everywhere in this government. And also everybody is dropping names but we cannot say who the president will pick. However, there is a possibility that the state might produce two federal ministers in the next cabinet.”
Another chieftain of the party from Kwara North said, “The President does things on his own and does not usually provide opportunity for the Governors to submit names or the party to even suggest. We can only be prayerful; those who are lobbying for it have not relented. Lai Mohammed wants to retain his seat, Kwara North is also very interested, the Central have stepped up their game and even Kwara South are also struggling for it”, he added.
One of the sources further said the Governor may tactically still be supporting Prince Sunday Fagbemi for the position.
Recall that a national daily, The Guardian had reported that the ministerial list might be out this week.
Quoting an insider source, the paper said the list had been forwarded to security departments for appropriate checks and that only the President and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo know details of every nominee that made the final list.
The paper said “The source added that even the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF) and Chief of Staff (CoS) to the President would only see the final list early in the week when it’s set for the Senate.
A DSS source however told this reporter last that he cannot confirm whether any list had been forwarded to their office in Abuja by the President for screening adding that some of his colleagues he spoke with at their headquarters where not forthcoming.